Relaxation exercises work to relieve the body of tension. Tension and anxiety can exaggerate pain caused by cancer, so pain may decrease and be easier to cope with when the body relaxes. Relaxation techniques work best for mild to moderate pain. They can be especially helpful during short episodes of pain- a painful injection, or being moved if bedridden.

Many people first learned relaxation techniques in childbirth education classes, and these same techniques can be used with cancer pain. Relaxation exercises may have you focus on controlled breathing patterns, breathing deeply and slowly. Or you may tense different muscles and release them, leaving a sense of relaxation in each of the muscle groups.

Another technique focuses on breathing in warmth and relaxation and breathing out tension and pain. There are many methods of encouraging relaxation, so you can try different ones to see what works best for you.

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